My first year in St Andrews abridged, I’ve returned across the Forth to Edinburgh. Following the news of a looming global lockdown, the halls emptied as people rushed to make the last flights home. The corridors became silent. Without my friends, the old building intimidated me. I just wanted to go home.
As I put Fife on hold, I was picking up the life I left behind last summer. After moving home for the first time, my return gave me the chance to reconnect with and re-evaluate my city. My daily exercise takes me to the streets of my childhood, where nostalgia paves the road in memories of rain-soaked walks to school and Saturday night take-aways. Leaving has given me a new light in which to appreciate home. As the present is uncertain and – let’s face it – boring, reliving the past is great distraction
Despite being quite happy at home, I still have an inner draw towards St Andrews. Whilst lockdown restrictions apply, I cannot be physically present there. Instead, I keep my connection to the town through those I shared it with. A few times a week, I call my friends for a catch up, even though we know we both have nothing to catch up on. I’m grateful that online I can still maintain a relationship with my new friends. I find it strange that we now conduct our relationships with those a few streets away in the same way as with those at the other side of the world. Space has little meaning now.
Under our new socially distanced lives, the first thing I noticed when I got home was my lack of roommates. Fortunately, the algorithm worked and I managed to share my year with two wonderful roomies. I miss the spontaneity of having a roommate – all the late-night philosophical chats and bedroom discos. Currently, I am experiencing a slower pace of life. It first felt strange coming off that constant buzz of academic life. However, I’ve realised that being on such an unnatural alert for so long would eventually have to stop, even if it was a few months earlier than planned.
Nevertheless, academia was not completely redundant; online learning meant zooming in to replace traditional lectures. Despite the unusual format, I welcomed it. I genuinely love my courses and still being able to gain that high from learning was very fulfilling. Though my exams are finished, I’m still keeping up my educational diet, by self-educating on various topics from French politics to Greek mythology. As my world has become largely confined to my bedroom (save the daily exercise and trip to the shops), learning makes me feel more in touch with the wider world.
As we make our way along the roadmap, the hope of new freedoms gives us something to look forward to. I think what has made lockdown feel so long is the monotony. When there seems there is nothing to differ each day from the previous one, we see time on a grander scale. I’m looking forward to the day when I can tell what day of the week it is.